Post Edit: I have an new version of sweet potato lasagna made with four cheeses posted here.
My husband told me when we got married, “I don’t eat sweet potatoes.
I just couldn’t accept this statement, and upon investigation, discovered his idea of sweet potatoes was the sweet potato that looks like baby food. He didn’t know that a sweet potato could have meaty texture and savory flavor. I set out to change his mind. And, I did.
So in my weeks of obsessing about sweet potatoes, I knew I wanted to keep them in their more whole and natural form.
And, to my utter surprise, and probably your delight, I turned my sweet potatoes into a casserole. But it’s not your grandmother’s casserole. You know exactly what you are eating and there are several textures and tastes exciting you all at once. Homemade buckwheat pasta, or store bought lasagna noodles, fontina cheese, shallots, and slices of roasted sweet potato in blood orange olive oil deliver a healthy, hearty happy casserole.
I made this at lunch time, and we were going to eat this for dinner, but it was one of those “just one more bite” experiences and we gobbled it up in moments.
I used a homemade buckwheat pasta which is not that easy to make, but you could certainly use regular lasagna noodles. Handmade pasta is often delicate and tender and that type of texture against the fleshier sweet potato is what makes this so successful.
The most fun part of this dish is using purple sweet potatoes. The combination of colors dance together, looking like mood enhancers, but alas, are just sweet potatoes. You know how much I love purple foods and you might remember my purple sweet potato fries. Both the orange and purple were regionally grown. I got the idea for finishing with finely chopped hash because when using a mandolin, there are always chunks of potato left, and I hate wasting food.
This is very easy to make, unless you’re like me and start eating these sweet potato coins as soon as they come out of the oven.
Slice potatoes with mandolin medium thin. You can use a knife if you don’t have a mandolin. Layer with pasta sheets, potatoes, buttery shallots, fontina cheese. Top with a hash of chopped sweet potatoes.
Buckwheat Pasta Recipe
- 1 cup buckwheat flour
- 1/2 cup semolina flour
- 3 eggs
- 1 tablespoons milk or cream (if necessary)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Mix flours together with salt. Make hole in center and beat one egg at a time and gradually incorporate flour into egg, going from outside in.
- Wrap in plastic wrap. Allow to rest for 30 minutes. Dough will probably still be sticky, so use flour to roll out. If you put through the pasta machine, you probably won’t be able to go past number 4. After number 4, pasta starts to shred. Pasta will still be tender. You will probably need to clean your pasta machine with each pass through as the buckwheat pasta tends to leave residue.
- Once pasta dough has been taken through machine, allow to rest again for 20 minutes uncovered. This air-drying process will make cutting the pasta an easy process without stickiness.
- Cook just as you would any other homemade pasta, boiling salted water and just a few minutes.
Note: I tried three different combinations and this particular recipe was by far, the easiest to work with. My long standing recipe for pasta is 1 cup flour and 2 eggs, and then adding in more flour as necessary. In this case, you will probably need to add in more liquid, and I used 1 tablespoon of cream.
- lasagna noodles (enough for six layers in casserole dish the size of quick bread pan (buckwheat pasta recipe below, can use regular noodles)
- 4 large sweet potatoes, peeled (1/4 potato reserved from each for chopping hash)
- fontina cheese (8 oz. sliced thinly
- 6 shallots, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- blood orange infused olive oil (I used
- ; see note)
- parmigiano reggiano cheese
- sea salt
- black pepper, freshly grated
- Slice potatoes thin. Save about ¼ of each potato to chop up for the topping.
- Roast at 350 in blood orange olive oil, salt. Turn after 20 minutes.
- Roast until completely done. If you don’t have blood orange olive oil, see note.
- In a small frying pan, saute butter and shallots until softened. Add a touch of the blood orange olive oil. Remove half of the shallots and set aside. Add chopped potatoes and cook until softened.
- Cook pasta in salted boiling water until pasta is almost cooked. You want it to have a bite, but you will only be baking the casserole to melt the cheese, so pasta will not be cooking more than five minutes in oven.
- Assemble: Layer pasta, sliced potatoes, top with a small amount of the reserved shallots, parmesan cheese, fontina cheese. Continue to layer, up to six layers. The final layer will be covered with fontina cheese, parmigiano reggiano and the chopped potatoes.
- Bake at 375 for 20 minutes or until cheese is melted.
- Allow to sit for five minutes before cutting.
- Serve with freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese at the table.